Zuckerberg Admits Facebook Mistakes, Promises They Will Be Fixed

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2012-09-12 Print this article Print

NEWS ANALYSIS: Had the chief face of Facebook come forward earlier, when the stock was sinking, he might have been able to save his company and its shareholders some substantial value. As it is, the stock rebounded modestly following Zuckerberg's appearance at a San Francisco tech conference on Sept. 11.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Sept. 11 made his first public appearance since May 19, the day his company went public in New York City and a couple days before he got married. The venue he chose was a one-on-one with TechCrunch blog founder Michael Arrington at the TechCrunch Disrupt 2012 conference here at the Concourse at San Francisco Design Center.

Arrington, who left TechCrunch as a full-time staffer after the company was acquired last year but still writes and stays involved in special events, led a wide-ranging discussion with Zuckerberg in which the billionaire entrepreneur showed a more contrite, human side of his personality that had not been previously displayed.

The main points:

  • Zuckerberg acknowledged that he's "disappointed" in the performance of the company's stock in its first four months of public sale, something he probably should have mentioned months ago, in order to identify with the pain of stockholders, who saw the stock drop from $38 to $19 in four months;
  • Facebook knows mobile is its ticket to future growth and has plans to solve its current problems in that sector; and
  • do not expect a Facebook phone anytime soon, possibly ever.
Model of Optimistic Consistency

None of those items is headline news, of course, but hearing them come from Zuckerberg--who's been a model of optimistic consistency ever since he rose to IT and consumer fame a half-dozen years ago--is unusual.

"There are times when everyone in the world thinks what we're doing is awesome, and there are times when people are super-pessimistic," Zuckerberg said. "I personally would rather be in the cycle when people underestimate us. I think it gives us latitude to go out and take some big bets and do some things that excite and amaze people."

A Facebook phone is not a bet the company is willing to take, Zuckerberg said.

"I mean, we could sell 10 million, 20 million phones, and that would not even move the needle," Zuckerberg, 28, told a crammed room of fellow 20-somethings at Disrupt. "That's just not something we intend to do. Others are doing fine in that market.

"We want to build a system that's deeply integrated into every platform people use."

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel